Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Saturday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on September 4, 2021 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Jeremiah 22:13-19 (NKJV)
22:13 “Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness and his chambers by injustice, who uses his neighbor’s service without wages and gives him nothing for his work,
14 “who says, ‘I will build myself a wide house with spacious chambers, and cut out windows for it, paneling it with cedar and painting it with vermilion.’
15 “Shall you reign because you enclose yourself in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink, and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him.
16 “He judged the cause of the poor and needy; Then it was well. Was not this knowing Me?” says the Lord.
17 “Yet your eyes and your heart are for nothing but your covetousness, for shedding innocent blood, and practicing oppression and violence.”
18 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah:
“They shall not lament for him, saying, ‘Alas, my brother!’ or ‘Alas, my sister!’ They shall not lament for him, saying, ‘Alas, master!’ or ‘Alas, his glory!’
19 “He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.”
“He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey…” This is not according to modern pet-loving ideas, but with older sensibilities: anonymously and to keep his stench and disease away. No mourning, no supplanting the memory of his evil, because he didn’t look for the Messiah, but abused God’s people. “Woe to him,” even if the unbelieving world mourns his departure, his name is not in God’s Kingdom.
We could easily apply this reading to today’s world, against representatives of a political party, industry, lobby, etc., because we see Jehoiakim-like behavior all around. But two things should prevent us. First, applying these words to our opponents without being ready to apply them to ‘our side’ violates verse 18. Nothing should keep us from calling all evil “evil”, even when sentimentalism or ‘party loyalty’ would deter us. If we fail, we put ourselves in danger of being those who try to remove the specks in the eyes of others without first removing the logs in our own.
Second, we must personally heed the history of Jehoiakim, so that neither we, nor our children, repeat it: his father (Josiah) was a righteous king who led a reformation and looked toward the coming of Christ. Because of this, Josiah governed with equity and sought the salvation and blessing of his people. We must, therefore, have our eyes fixed on Jesus by the hearing of His Word and the reception of His Body and Blood, so that we do not let self-interested loyalties displace God and His Word, lest we become worthy of the same condemnations.
Prayer: Almighty and Everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and that we may obtain that which Thou dost promise, make us to love that which Thou dost command; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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